• Thu. Jun 1st, 2023

Houston organization owner tied to ex-wellness division official charged


Mar 28, 2023

A nearby organization owner has been charged with federal plan bribery, accused of paying a former Houston Wellness Division official a kickback in return for assistance in securing a city contract.

Barry Barnes, the former administrative and neighborhood outreach coordinator for the city Wellness Division, pleaded guilty final November to a bribery charge, admitting to getting at least $24,200 in kickbacks, with amounts varying amongst $900 and $five,500, for assisting 3 organizations secure contracts with the city and making sure they received payment.

GUILTY PLEA: Former Houston Wellness Division official pleads guilty to bribery, admits $24,000 in kickbacks

In the newest improvement, investigators accused Juquita “Jackie” Adams, owner and manager of Houston-primarily based women’s style retailer Melodrama Boutique, of striking a deal with Barnes about December 2020. According to the charging document, Adams allegedly paid Barnes $five,000 in exchange for her retailer getting awarded a $30,000 marketing solutions contract.

Adams declined comment Tuesday.

Melodrama Boutique is amongst the 3 nearby organizations identified by the Chronicle as getting connected to Barnes’s case, primarily based on court documents and matching city invoices and disbursement records. The other two vendors are Neutral Grey and Black Public Radio. 

Prosecutors have not filed charges against either of these two vendors.

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Barnes has agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors as a component of his plea deal and waived his Fifth Amendment rights, which suggests he can not refuse to respond to inquiries as investigators proceed with connected charges.

Barnes’ alleged bribery scheme with Neutral Grey, a branding business owned by Stephanie Coleman and referred to as “Company A” by prosecutors, lasted for extra than a year, from November 2019 to March 2021. Court documents show the vendor produced various payments totaling at least $21,500 to Barnes to receive six city contracts worth around $911,000.

Black Public Radio, a business with a listed address on Kirby Drive and small info on-line, has payment and invoice particulars that align with these of “Organization C” in the Barnes case. The organization is accused of bribing the former wellness official with $five,000 to safe a $35,000 advertisement contract.



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